Bringing your family

If your family will be coming to Canada with you, then you may need some information about how to prepare for the changes you will all experience as you adjust to life in Canada. Here is some information and resources to help you:


Most children begin school at the age of 5 in Canada, though schools with junior kindergarten will accept children at age 4. Schools are divided into elementary and secondary schools. In some areas, there are middle schools, but typically children in kindergarten through to grade 8 attend elementary schools and children in grades 9 to 12 attend secondary schools, also called high schools.

There are 2 school boards in Waterloo. Depending on your preferences, your child could be schooled in a public school with no religious affiliation through the Waterloo Region District School Board, or in a Catholic school through the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

Your children's tuition fees will be waived if you provide proof that you have paid your university tuition fees (proof available through your Quest Account), a letter from the Graduate Studies Office or Registrar’s Office confirming you are a registered student, your passport and your child's passport and your study permit.

Child care

In Canada, children under the age of 12 may not be left alone. An adult must be present at all times. Daycare facilities are available on the University of Waterloo campus and in the community. They offer a range of full-day and half-day programs for children of preschool age.

Open Work Permit for your spouse

Your spouse/common-law partner can apply for a work permit to work on or off campus. Work permits for spouses are issued for the duration of the student’s study permit. Spouses who change their status to students, or are already students, are not permitted to apply for this work permit.

Help your spouse settle in

International Spouses of University of Waterloo is a group of spouses of international students and visiting professors who are interested in meeting new friends and learning about Waterloo and Canada. Contact Nancy Matthews to receive details about group meetings and trips. Children are welcome.